This is a question I receive frequently. Especially from those with only a couple of animals or those using a product with small pets.
If it's a high quality product like the ones we make available to you they can be kept nearly indefinately. The 'best by' date will generally be two years from manufacture, but I've had a customer use even a seven year old product stored incorrectly at higher doses with excellent support. I don't recommend that however!
Your best approach when you get a new herb mix is to take out the amount of product you will use for a month or two. Just pour it out- don't contaminate the contents within the bag and do not get it moist in the bag. Then reseal and enclose in a freezer bag. Writing the date on it with a permanent marker is another good step. Then put it in your freezer. Ta da! It will keep pretty much forever.
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Katherine MH, CR, CA, CEIT, DipHIr, QTP has extensive alternative training in Vitalistic (cause oriented) wellness,including a Master's Degree in Herbology and is a lifelong pet, poultry, horse and livestock owner. She has a heart to share with you so that you, your family and your creatures may achieve abundant wellness. Be Blessed!
These statements have not been reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to treat, cure, prevent or diagnose any disease.
So let's think about parasites for a minute.
At any one time a creature (including many humans - ick I know) will have all stages of a parasite or parasite types from eggs to juveniles to adults within their system over an average of a 21 day life cycle. The most common ones get into systems by ingestion. Whether that is eating contaminated food in a feeder, off the ground or in the pasture or drinking contaminated water. Eggs, larvae, flea bites, slug ingestion, inhaling airborne worm ovum and even skin contact with some such as hookworm. Some of these live off of the food in the GI Tract, some of them attach to the host and live off of the nutrients in the blood stream or even the blood itself.
Now thinking like a Vitalist (cause oriented) rather than an allopath (symptom oriented) let's think about using an extract for GI System residing parasites. Yes it can be effective. In those cases you will want to fast the animal so that the extract comes into physical contact with more of the parasites in the intestines as it moves through them. It will of course also be absorbed into the blood stream and run through cells and for those parasites drinking blood they will be getting it in their lunch. Now if you are working with a ruminant keep in mind that very little of the product will make it into the intestines, but it will still make it into the bloodstream. So in my opinion as a Master of Herbology extracts are best used for simple stomached creatures as well as for parasites that reside in other areas of the body. For many people extracts are easier to give as they can be added to waters or carefully given by dropper by mouth in the case of smaller pets.
Now consider using an herb powder. Herb powders, on the average, in a reasonably healthy stomached individual will start absorbing phytochemicals (plant nutritional components) into the bloodstream in about twenty minutes. In ruminating animals more of that product is then put into the cud, chewed further and then a much larger percentage makes it into the intestinal tract. You also have a larger amount of plant mass entering the rumen and / or intestinal tracts then you do with an extract, so that more herb is coming in direct contact with worm ovum and parasite bodies. So for GI residing parasites in animals and especially those still eating (not fasting which is dangerous for milking stock and third trimester stock) my personal preference is to use high quality whole herb powder products that are synergestically blended.
We offer two: DWA(tm) and GI Soother(tm). Both products can be responsibly used with any age and type of animal with no milk, meat, egg or pregnancy withdrawals.
GI Soother(tm) is incredibly popular with raising youngstock and especially for foreign living matter that can hemorrhage a creature quickly.
DWA(tm) is useful for foreign living matter issues occuring in multiple body locations.
Both products support the body's attempt to do what it was created to do in these situations.
For animals that are really struggling we also encourage the use of MMune(tm) to give the body additional immune system support.
For animals that are or have been really struggling we also like to consider BetterDaze(tm) for additional wellness support with its very mindful collection of herbs historically used for a wide range of phytochemical components.
Here's to a very happy and healthy season for you and all of the creatures under your loving care!
Look for other articles in our blog on parasites and on giving herbs.
Yes you can store herbs for long term! Our products (www.firmeadowllc.com) are Best by generally two years from date of manufacture although we have had customers use products up to seven year old with favorable results (not recommended!).
The enemies to your herb blends are heat, greatly fluctuating temperatures, light, age and moisture so those are the situations we want to avoid for them. For herbs to be used within the next month or two often keeping them in their packaging and in a cupboard is sufficient. Herbs and blends that you will be keeping for longer than two months I suggest that one pull out a couple of months worth and keep that in the barn in a sealed freezer bag, lidded canning jar (be careful around concrete!), or a sealable plastic jar remembering to store it out of direct light. Also be sure to use a clean spoon or scoop and do not get any moisture into either container. The remainder can be kept in the original packaging in the house in a cabinet.
For those that want to store herbs beyond a year or two or for seasonally used products (like Ewe-Ter-N) I suggest you double bag the product you don't plan to be using that year and place it in the freezer. Most herbs as long as you didn't introduce moisture to them will keep for years in that manner.
If one is making an infusion (strong herbal tea) any excess can be kept for up to three days in the refrigerator. Excess can be frozen in ice cube trays and double freezer bagged for later use. I would use twice the amount for any cubes that I pulled from the freezer. Always put the current date on any bags of cubes.
For those making dosage balls with black strap molasses, organic peanut butter or raw honey which do not have a water content you can keep excess balls in the refrigerator for approximately a week. I would store them on a lower shelf since cold settles usually making that the coldest area of your fridge. Any that you'd like to keep longer than that double freezer bag and keep in your freezer. You may want to freeze them on a parchment paper covered cookie sheet before you bag them so they don't freeze together.
Herbs can also be stored indefinately in alcohol and for multiple years in raw organic apple cider vinegar and then straining the liquid before using. They can also be kept in olive oil this way for approximately two years. Remember to keep these out of light, to use sterilized containers and to label them with a date.